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Special to The News-Courier
HASKELL–The Rolling Plains Detention Facility reported Saturday one of its employees, who lives in Goree, has tested positive for the COVID-19 virus.
The facility has implemented measures to prevent the spread of the virus and no other employees or inmates are experiencing symptoms at this time.
“We began preparing in January for the possibility an employee or inmate would test positive for COVID-19,” said Dr. Pamela Hearn, Medical Director for LaSalle Corrections, which operates the facility. “The safety of our employees and inmates in our care is our top priority during this time.”
The impacted employee notified her supervisor on April 2, after expressing she was not feeling well. She later sought medical attention and was tested for the virus.
Employees who had contact with the impacted employee have also been sent home to self-isolate for 14 days and 126 detainees are quarantined as a precautionary measure.
The facility began implementing measures to prevent the spread of the virus in accordance with Centers for Disease Control advice in February. Those measures include providing additional personal protection equipment like masks and gloves, screening inmates for the virus during the intake process, monitoring inmates for symptoms of the virus and reducing employee and inmate contact inside the facility where possible.
“Every employee is now screened and has their temperature taken upon arriving at work each day,” Hearn said. “Our nurses are making rounds, checking on prisoners to see if any of them are experiencing symptoms. We have been social distancing. And we are cleaning and sanitizing throughout the facility.”
Jay Eason, Director of Operations at LaSalle Corrections said the company’s pandemic contingency plan includes “screening, testing, appropriate treatment, prevention, education, and infection control measures,’ and said the virus has not caused disruption to the orderly operation of the facilities. Eason said the facility is prepared to continue to operate safely and appropriately and provide inmates with the services they need.
“The responsibility to protect those in our custody is paramount and LaSalle Corrections is firmly committed to the health and welfare of our detained population,” Eason said.
Eason said LaSalle Corrections is also working closely with the Texas Jail Commission and other federal, state, and local agencies to confront COVID-19. The Rolling Plains Detention Facility has a capacity of 548 with a census today of 483 detainees.